The St. Thomas volleyball team made a statement when it defeated Carleton 3-0 at Schoenecker Arena on Wednesday night.
After a disappointing tournament finish in San Antonio, Texas, last weekend and dropping five slots in the national rankings, coach Thanh Pham was confident his team would bounce back with its heads high.
“I expect our team to play the way we know how to,” Pham said before the game. “We’re a scrappy team, and we’re going to fight hard.”
Freshman outside hitter Jill Greenfield reflected her coach’s positive mentality.
“Our goal for the game was to get back to the Tommie-style volleyball we’ve been taught to play,” she said.
This “Tommie style” of volleyball was evident right from the first ace. Senior setter Ashley Maher scored the first point of the game with a powerful serve.
St.Thomas rallied eight unanswered points before Carleton finally put a point on the scoreboard. The Tommies took the first game 25-8.
The Knights made a small comeback in the second game. At one point, they led 13-10. After a timeout by Pham, the Tommies fought back and evened the score with key plays from senior middle blocker Taylor Cross, freshman middle blocker Kelly Foley and Greenfield.
“During the timeout, coach told us to remember the little things. We weren’t passing, and that’s the key to making plays,” said Greenfield.
The Tommies went on to win the second game 25-18.
The Tommies completed the sweep by winning their third game 25-11. Cross led the team with 11 kills, and junior defensive specialist Kaitlain Wachter and Greenfield led the team with 14 digs.
As one of three seniors on the team, Cross knows the importance of conference wins.
“MIAC games are important,” she said. “Every team is competitive; but if we work hard, it won’t be a problem.”
Greenfield was proud of her team’s performance and believes part of its success comes from the strong, team chemistry.
“We really pulled it together tonight. We knew we had to rely on teamwork and trust and our teammates all have each other’s backs,” Greenfield said. “I love playing with these girls.”
While the team celebrated a solid win ,it won’t settle for anything less than perfect.
“Our goals for the season are win conference, win regionals and win nationals,” Cross said. “We want to be in the national title game, and we are going to try our hardest to get there.”
The Tommies will play at St. Benedict College on Friday, Sept. 23.
Hayley Schnell can be reached at email@example.com.